Thessaloniki, Greece

Thessaloniki, also known as Salonica, is the second largest city in Greece, and the capital of Macedonia. There are several Ottoman and Jewish structures located in Thessaloniki, and many Byzantine monuments as well. Thessaloniki was first established in 315 BC by Kassandros, or Cassander, King of Macedon. Thessaloniki was built on, or very near the site of the ancient town of Therma. It was named for his wife, Thessaloniki, who was the sister of Alexander the Great. As early as the 2nd century BC, the first walls were built to form a large square.

Today Thessaloniki is a tourist hotspot, alive with bustling city life. Large avenues, parks and squares, old houses, and modern dwellings are found in the city. The Upper Town of Thessaloniki, known as Ano Poli, is filled with quaintly charming neighborhoods, that feature narrow streets and beautiful small gardens. This is quite a contrast to the lively city atmosphere that lies very near. Here are also found many of the city’s oldest churches, such as the Osios David, St. Nicolaos Orphanos, and the Vlatades Monastery. The Church of Aghios Demetrios is the most important church in Thessaloniki. It is found above the remains of the agora and the Roman Forum. This church has three side chapels, a museum, and underground catacombs that include the imprisonment chamber of Saint Demetrios, Thessaloniki’s patron saint.

Beautiful and majestic landmarks include the White Tower of Thessaloniki, which is considered to be the symbol of the city. From the top of the tower you can see a wonderful view of downtown Thessaloniki. The Arch and Tomb of Galerius, also known as the Kamara, is another wonderful monument. The eastern region of the city is home to the Kyvernion, the former residence of the King and Queen of Greece. Also on the east side is the Concert Hall of Thessaloniki, where the Thessaloniki Trade Fair is held each September.